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Birkenstock Arizona Essentials Review

These feel like classic Birkenstocks but are entirely synthetic, perfect for wet conditions and vegans
Birkenstock Arizona Essentials
Photo: Birkenstock
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Price:  $45 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, light, good in wet conditions, great support, affordable
Cons:  Not as soft or breathable as leather
Manufacturer:   Birkenstock
By Brian Martin ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 9, 2021
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 14
  • Comfort - 30% 8
  • Support - 20% 8
  • Traction - 20% 5
  • Versatility - 15% 6
  • Style - 15% 7

Our Verdict

There's no hiding it; we've been Birkenstock fans for a long time. They have a classic design that offers style and a high level of comfort for most applications. Some of the previous Birk downsides have been offset by this new EVA foam version. As they are synthetic, they don't get that classic Birk funk, and they dry out almost instantly after being wet. Most importantly, they maintain their amazingly high comfort level with a radically molded footbed, high arch support, and cupped heel. We've always found Birkenstocks quite comfortable, and the Arizona Essentials is no exception. They're also crazy lightweight, making them an excellent choice for weight-conscious packers.

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$51.95 at Amazon
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$55 List$22 List
$21.99 at Amazon
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Star Rating
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Pros Comfortable, light, good in wet conditions, great support, affordableAttractive, comfortable, affordableStylish, great wet environment traction, odor resistantBargain basement price, relatively comfortable, good in wet conditionsExtremely comfortable
Cons Not as soft or breathable as leatherBreaking in takes time, poor tractionNot good in mountain terrain, loose fitLow arch, not suitable for hikingTraction and durability is subpar
Bottom Line These feel like classic Birkenstocks but are entirely synthetic, perfect for wet conditions and vegansAfter break-in, these cult classic flip flops offer excellent comfort and classic stylingAn excellent pair for hanging at the beach, boating, or kicking the style up a notchThese offer decent comfort and overall usability that far exceeds typical bargain basement flip flopsThis flip is completely focused on being as soft as possible underfoot, the result being a high level of comfort and low level of durability
Rating Categories Birkenstock Arizona... Rainbow Premier Lea... Hari Mari Dunes II NeedBo NDB Reef Cushion Phantom
Comfort (30%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
Support (20%)
8.0
7.0
5.0
6.0
4.0
Traction (20%)
5.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
Versatility (15%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
5.0
Style (15%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
6.0
Specs Birkenstock Arizona... Rainbow Premier Lea... Hari Mari Dunes II NeedBo NDB Reef Cushion Phantom
Sole Material EVA Non-slip rainbow bottom Foam Rubber Rubber
Footbed Material EVA Nubuck leather Foam EVA Foam
Strap Material EVA Nubuck leather Nylon EVA Canvas
Weight (per pair) 9.3 oz 13.1 oz 17 oz 10.5 oz 14 oz
Available Sizes 6-6.5 - 13-13.5 Small - XXXL 8 -13 6.5-17 8 - 14
Animal Products? No Yes No No Not Specified

Our Analysis and Test Results

You would be hard-pressed to find someone that doesn't know the Birkenstock brand. The name conjures images of brass buckles and mocha-colored leather as well as an ultra-contoured footbed, generally regarded as one of the more comfortable and ergonomic flip flops out there. The Arizona Essentials is a new twist that takes some of our favorite characteristics and repackages it in a synthetic, lightweight design.

Performance Comparison


They're comfortable, look good, lightweight, and are actually...
They're comfortable, look good, lightweight, and are actually affordable!
Photo: Brian Martin

Comfort


The Arizona Essentials is one of the most comfortable, totally synthetic flip flops we tested. The signature molded footbed we all know and love is one of the highlights of this flip flop. Like many of you, we have owned pairs of Birkenstocks until they completely wore through to the pavement mostly because of how comfortable they are. The EVA Arizona is no different, except for losing a bit of the suppleness offered by cork or leather.

Another small gripe is that the EVA straps can sometimes annoyingly tug at toe hair. Many of you are probably not from the Shire and therefore do not have shaggy hobbit feet, and this will make no difference to you. For those that are, vigorous walking could bring about this hair pulling discomfort.

These offer classic comfort unique to Birkenstocks. We had some...
These offer classic comfort unique to Birkenstocks. We had some gripes with the straps, but it's partially because our big toes are hairy. This is not a joke.
Photo: Brian Martin

Support


In many ways, Birkenstocks really set the standard for support. The cupped/molded footbeds are consistently supportive and comfortable throughout the different models. The Arizona EVA variant is on par. The arch support is high and firm, and the depressed footbed worked well to keep our foot centered and planted. Remarkably, as this Birk is made entirely of EVA foam, it is quite dense which, when paired with its radically ergonomic form, makes for a highly supportive and confidence-inspiring sandal.

Excellent arch support, deep molded footbed, and adjustable straps...
Excellent arch support, deep molded footbed, and adjustable straps make the Arizona really supportive, like a therapist for your feet.
Photo: Brian Martin

Traction


A downside of having a flip flop comprised entirely of foam is that traction generally takes a hit. Even the more dense EVAs, which feel more like rubber, aren't as tacky as the real deal. The Arizona Essential performed on par with other EVA soled flip flops but lacked the necessary traction to really perform on trails or other slippery surfaces like polished granite.

One of our few gripes was the relatively slippery EVA sole. It...
One of our few gripes was the relatively slippery EVA sole. It wasn't terrible but we did find ourselves slipping a bit on smooth granite and wet river logs.
Photo: Brian Martin

Versatility


While they are a bit lacking in traction, which inevitably detracts from overall versatility, the Arizona gets a boost because of its great performance in the water. It floats, dries quickly, and doesn't saturate like leather. The cupped footbed also works well to keep the feet in the flip when things get wet. So, while you might not be doing much rocky trail hiking in these, they work well in the water and look good enough for most social gatherings.

It is rare to find a flip flop that handles water well but remains...
It is rare to find a flip flop that handles water well but remains supportive and comfortable when dry. The Arizona was quite adept in the water and dried quickly.
Photo: Brian Martin

Style


It's like a computer scanned a classic Birkenstock and 3D printed a new one out of EVA foam. Out of the box, these were a bit too shiny but quickly broke in and looked a bit more subtle. They really just look like Birkenstocks, which is a good thing. They don't draw too much attention but look nice for backyard gatherings and lazy summer days.

Classic Birkenstock styling with a shiny new grey look. After we...
Classic Birkenstock styling with a shiny new grey look. After we broke these in they weren't so shiny which was a good thing and actually made them look a bit more like classic Birks.
Photo: Brian Martin

Value


Simply put, the Arizona Essential is excellent value for money. You will likely not find another flip flop with such a supportive/molded footbed for the money. On top of the comfort, these are excellent for anyone spending substantial time in wet environments as they won't rot or degenerate just because of moisture. If you're a lover of Birkenstocks, these are affordable enough to have a pair around for your next beach excursion.

Conclusion


Like classic Birkenstocks, the Arizona Essential is supportive and comfortable. Unique to this EVA model is how lightweight and affordable it is and how well it performs in the wet. These are a no-brainer if you already know Birkenstocks fit your foot well and offer you the high arch support you need. Two thumbs and two big toes up.

Especially if you already know your fit plays nice with the high...
Especially if you already know your fit plays nice with the high Birk Arch, these flip flops are a fantastic option. If you aren't sure, they will likely feel really good and work well for your next beach trip!
Photo: Brian Martin

Brian Martin

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